Rathbun’s role at KCBX shifting to freelance

Longtime on-air presence Guy Rathbun will no longer serve as the program manager at public-radio station KCBX-FM in San Luis Obispo, a role he’s held since 1987. Instead he will operate independently as a contract freelancer for the local National Public Radio affiliate, station manager Frank Lanzone confirmed.

Rathbun will still broadcast his two weekly programs, “An Evening With ” and the jazz review “Club McKenzie,” as well as produce programs for syndication through other audio, radio and podcast outlets.

Rathbun was unavailable for comment, and Lanzone declined to clarify whether Rathbun decided to step down or was asked to step down.

“We decided to part ways,” Lanzone said, emphasizing that Rathbun’s on-air presence is still important for the station’s programming.

“Guy still has keys to the building,” he said.

KCBX is in the process of creating the requirements for a new leadership position to address the multiple formats through which radio is now being delivered and marketed, including the Internet, HD radio and social media.

“(Guy and I) have both been talking about it for five years on and off radio is like the newspaper business we are not the same as we were 30 years ago,” Lanzone said.

Rathbun was first broadcast on KCBX in the year of the station’s founding, 1975. KCBX (90.1 FM in San Luis Obispo) is a non-commercial radio station that serves an average weekly audience of more than 40,000 listeners in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and south Monterey counties.

No major changes are yet planned, but the station is evaluating where it needs to grow.

“We don’t know where we’re going, but we know that our future is local, adjusting to the needs of listeners,” Lanzone said.